Making An Impact – Learning To Dress To Impress
Category : Blogs
After a wonderful speaker slot by Sarah Van Dort from Colour me Beautiful at our Reading monthly women’s networking group, it really got us all thinking about just how much the way we dress can have an impact on our professional networking. Sarah showed the group (by way of a very animated demonstration) just how much difference little details like nude heels as opposed to black ones can make to your outfit and yourself. For reference, nude heels work for ladies with short legs, making them look taller and giving off a more serious vibe. How adding the right colour can make an impact over the wrong colour that could make you look drained, drawn or not in the right mood! So we wanted to explore the theory of women’s business networking wardrobe choices a little more thoroughly.
Why Does What I Wear Matter?
In general, the clothes we wear have a huge impact on how we are feeling and how we present ourselves, but this tends to be more so for women. If you dress in an ill-fitting suit and slightly-too-tight shoes for a business meeting, you are going to spend most of it feeling uncomfortable and devoid of personality. But if you have the freedom to dress in your favourite blouse, tailored trousers and a comfortable pair of boots, you are going to go into that meeting feeling confident and distraction free. You can also alter your outfit and appearance to suit the situation and make the most out of it. The way you dress has a huge impact on how you think and feel, as well as how you come across to other people. So how should you dress for women’s business networking?
Showcase Your Personality
One of the most challenging things to do in bigger networking groups is working out how you are going to stand out from the crowd and be remembered. For some (like a certain member of our Reading group) having bright, memorable hair is the answer. But for most of us, the best thing we can do is channel our personality through our clothes to create a complete picture of who we are that is easily recognisable. If you are loud and colourful, wear an outfit that embraces those qualities. If you are more reserved and serious, your choice of clothing and accessories can convey that to a stranger before you even open your mouth. Embracing your personality with your networking wardrobe is a great way to help other get to know you as a person and build those meaningful connections that lead to business being done.
Represent Your Business
Now here’s the flip side. While you want to show off your personality and be yourself, you also need to be mindful of how you represent your business and the company values. For example, a more creative business owner would get away with jeans, bright coloured tops, big statement jewellery and unusual hairstyles because that is the sort of thing creative people are known for. If you are promoting yourself as creative, the best way to reinforce that is with your appearance and attitude. But if you are in a more traditionally ‘professional’ role (we’re thinking lawyers, accountants etc. here) then you may need to consider a more reserved approach in order to inspire confidence in your potential clients. Offering professional services means you need to match up to that image in some way. That doesn’t mean you have to wear stuffy suits every day if that isn’t your style, it just means you need to opt for a more conservative style. It’s tricky, but with a little thought you can match your outfit to your personality and your business to create the confidence and the image you need to really make an impact.
So What Do I Wear?
It can sometimes be a challenge to figure out exactly what to wear to a networking event, especially if it’s one you have not visited before. Our advice is to do a bit of research before you start tearing the wardrobe apart. Some of the high power professional groups will only want to see ‘smart business dress’, while other more casual groups will have no problem with jeans and a cardigan. Sometimes it’s the venue that will impose a dress code (our Ascot and Bracknell network meeting is strictly no jeans allowed). The most important thing is to be comfortable and confident in yourself, as this will help you sell yourself and make connections. If that means wearing a bright red scarf, you go for it! Match your outfit to your personality to your business and you will be unstoppable.
If you want to find out more about how the way you dress affects your confidence, get in touch with one of the following fabulous 10-12 ladies for some advice:
- Tash Higman of Bakuba Womens Business Clothes bespoke fitting
- Sarah Van Dort of Absolutely Fabulous Personal Sylist Reading
- Lisa Talbot of Lisa Talbot personal Stylist Maidenhead
And remember, the most important accessory you can wear is your smile!